Saturday, May 16, 2015

That Old Argument Again - Paper vs Ebook

There lots of ways to spark the ire of readers. A common one of late: physical books vs ebooks. Everyone seems to have a strong preference and a monumental list of arguments to support their case. After this last month, I'm more confused than ever...

We are in the process of downsizing from a large house to a smaller, more manageable size. In order to sell our house, we needed to rent another while it was on the market... three dogs and all that doesn't help a house sell. So I packed up the huge house and the belongings that seemed to multiply to fit the large space.

In our old house, we had an extra room that we used as a library. It had ten bookcases filled with hundreds of books collected lovingly through the years. We made a decision to donate most of the books and bookcases because there wouldn't be room in the rental house for them. Simple. Easy. *snort* Yeah right...

I didn't count the books, but my husband and I have been major readers since we were kids and have amassed quite the collection. So many wonderful reading moments were being packed away in boxes. I got through rather easily by imagining someone else discovering a book I held so dear. Hubby... well not so much. I have no shortage of amazing books available for review at any given moment, so the idea of re-reading a favorite isn't as spellbinding to me as it was to him.

Long story short, the books were boxed and ready to donate-- but it's very hard to let go of 1500 pieces of our lives. So the boxes were all moved to our rental house (much to the chagrin of the poor movers) and put in the garage. I bet they'll be moved to whatever house we end up buying within the next year as well. Letting go of something you love is hard.

My 550 ebooks are on my laptop and my Kindle. They were moved in a computer backpack and can be carried with me anywhere I go. I never have that moment on a vacation or at the doctor's office where I realize that I brought the wrong book-- or God forbid-- forgot books altogether. Any book I want to read is right there at my fingertips anytime I want it. Wonderful. Not to mention, the Kindle Paperwhite has a screen that looks a lot like a real paperback book. It doesn't aggravate my migraines or cause reading headaches any faster than paper. I absolutely adore my Kindle.

That said, I would be devastated to see physical books disappear. There's nothing like walking into a library or bookstore and seeing shelf after shelf filled with potential wonder. And that book smell--what reader isn't a book sniffer. There's little satisfaction in hugging my Kindle to my chest when I finish an awesome book. It's just not the same.

So here I am stuck at the crossroads between print and ebook-- between past and future, wondering if the next generation will even know what a print book looks like-- then wondering if that's really such a bad thing for the environment.

My head belongs to ebooks, but my heart will always long for a paper copy to hold in my hands.


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